Do you get confused with Product Rights?

23 replies
There is often confusion with product rights: when you buy a RR or PLR products, is it always clear what you can and can't do with it?

Would it help to have some agreed standards on this?

I'm working on a product which will need to categorize/tag products based on the rights you have, so I'd like to create a definitive list of Rights and what they mean.

I'm creating such a list, which I'll post here for comments - but in the meantime, I'd be interested in any input - particularly the sorts of things that are confusing/ambiguous.

This added after Post #7 was posted:
=======================

OK - here's my analysis: even more complex than I expected, but I don't think it can be simplified and still cover all possible cases. Perhaps I'm still missing some cases.

Let me know...

Here is a graphic summary of my suggestions for classifying product rights.



Here are all the dreadful details, for anyone with the patience to go through it. Constructive criticism welcome!

Rights and Restrictions
================

A product has a set of RIGHTS which define what you can do with it, and a set of RESTRICTIONS which specify what you may NOT do with it. Primarily, the Restrictions limit what you can do when re-selling the product, but there may be other restrictions as well.

Rights
====

Product Rights fall into four categories:

- Usage Rights (e.g. Personal Use, Personal Single-Use, Personal Multiple-Use etc.)
- Selling Rights (e.g. Resell Rights, Master Resell Rights etc.)
- Giving Rights (e.g. Give-Away Rights, Master Give-Away Rights etc.)
- Derivation/Incorporation Rights (e.g. Public Label Rights)

Depending on the circumstances, a product may be (and often must be) sold with rights in more than one of those categories.

These are described in more detail below.

Restrictions
========

These can take many different forms, and I haven’t attempted to formalise them. Examples are:

- May only be given away as part of a bonus for a product selling for $X or more
- May not be added to a paid membership site unless the monthly fee exceeds $X
- May not be added to a free membership site
- May not sell Resell Rights for less than $X
- May not be packaged with more than N other products
- May not be included as a bonus with more than N other bonuses
- May not sell on eBay or Dime Sales
- Etc.


Master Rights vs. Transferable Rights
==========================

One of the main areas of confusion in product rights is the idea of Master Resell Rights. On the whole, that term has not been used correctly.

The proper meaning of Master Resell Rights is that you can sell Resell Rights. Which means the people you sell to can only sell Personal Use rights.

If the terms state that you can ALSO sell Master Resell Rights – what that really means is that:
- You can sell Master Resell Rights
- Your customers can therefore sell Resell Rights and…
- Your customer’s customers can sell for Personal Use only

Usually that is NOT what product developers want: what they want is to allow anyone, all down the line, to be able to have resell rights.

To fix this, we can either change the definition of Master Resell Rights or introduce a new term. I think it’s a bad idea to change the definition, and in any case, introducing a new term provides more options.

So, I propose using the term Transferable Resell Rights and then we get the following definitions:

Resell Rights means:
You can sell some form of Usage Rights only (e.g. Personal Use)

Master Resell Rights means:
You can sell some form of Usage Rights (e.g. Personal Use) AND you can sell Resell Rights

Transferable Resell Rights means:
You can sell some form of Usage Rights (e.g. Personal Use) AND you can sell Resell Rights AND you can sell Transferable Resell Rights

Side note:
It’s only when we include Transferable Resell Rights in the definition of Transferable Resell Rights that the rights get passed all the way down the line. (That's the magic of recursive definitions!)

In fact, that idea of Master Rights vs. Transferable Rights needs be applied not just to Selling Rights, but also to Giving Rights and Derivation Rights: see below.

List Of Rights And Their Meanings
=======================

Usage Rights

These rights are to do with using the product, rather than selling it.

o Personal Use

Can be used, not sold.


o Personal Single-Use

Used where necessary to distinguish from Multi-Use

o Personal Multi-Use

In some cases there is a need to distinguish between Single-Use and Multi-Use. E.g. where a script/plugin/theme/graphics/images etc. could be used on multiple sites, all owned by the customer.

Neither the product, nor anything it is used in, may be sold.
If the product includes PLR, it may be modified.

There may or may not be royalties payable.


o Developers License

This is the same as Personal Multi-Use, except that the product/website etc. that includes the purchased product may be sold, or it may belong to a client.


Selling Rights

These rights define who can sell the product. The product itself cannot be changed or modified in any way.

If there are any materials provided to help sell the product (e.g. a website) there may or may not be restrictions on how that material may be used or modified. (The product originator should make that clear.)

o Resell Rights

Can sell the product with the appropriate Usage Rights. If there is any doubt, the specific type of Usage Rights should be specified as part of the rights.

o Master Resell Rights

Can sell the product with the appropriate Usage Rights AND/OR with Resell Rights

o Transferable Resell Rights

Call sell the product with the appropriate Usage Rights AND/OR with Resell Rights AND/OR with Transferable Resell Rights

Giving Rights

As with Selling Rights, Giving Rights do no allow the product itself to be changed or modified in any way, (unless what is being Given includes PLR).

As with Selling Rights, if there are any materials provided to help give away the product (e.g. a website or squeeze page) there may or may not be restrictions on how that material may be used or modified. (The product originator should make that clear.)

With Giving Rights, it’s necessary to specify exactly WHAT RIGHTS are being given away:
- Is it just the product for Personal Use?
- Are some other Rights included (e.g. Resell Rights) ?

o Give-Away Rights

Can give the product away with the appropriate Rights.

o Master Give-Away Rights

Can give the product away with appropriate Rights
AND/OR with Give-Away Rights. (This only makes sense if the rights included with the Give-Away Rights doesn’t itself include Give-Away Rights!)

o Transferable Give-Away Rights

Can give the product away with appropriate Rights
AND/OR with Give-Away Rights
AND/OR with Transferable Give-Away Rights. (This only makes sense if the rights included with the Give-Away Rights doesn’t itself include Give-Away Rights!)

Derivation/Incorporation Rights

These rights allow the product to be used in whole or in part to
  • Create a derived product/products (e.g. a re-titled eBook, based on an eBook)
  • Be incorporated into another product, website etc. (e.g. intro music added to a set of videos)

For a derived product, the purchaser may, for example:
- Change the name of the product and re-brand it
- Change/add to/delete part of the content/functionality of the product
- Claim ownership (but perhaps only if a substantial changes are made to the content/functionality)

For an incorporated product, it may be possible to amend it (e.g. if the product is PLR graphics, perhaps they can be changed before use).
Sometimes, the content many be completely re-purposed and re-packaged (e.g. chapters in an eBook can be re-purposed as articles or posts).

The original product developer must define any restrictions on the creation of derived products and usage for incorporation.

The original product developer should also state what type of rights (i.e. what Usage Rights – and optionally what Selling Rights or Giving Rights) can be passed on with any derived product (or with the unchanged product if nothing is changed).

o Public Label Rights

Can create derived products (according to the terms) and can sell them with appropriate Usage Rights – and optionally Selling Rights and/or Giving Rights (according to the terms)
or
Can incorporate the product into another product, website etc.


o Master Public Label Rights

Same as Public Label Rights
AND/OR can sell Public Label Rights to the original product.


o Transferable Public Label Rights

Same as Public Label Rights
AND/OR can sell Public Label Rights to the original product
AND/OR can sell Transferable Public Label Rights.

o Unrestricted Public Label Rights

There are no restrictions on the creation of derived products and there are no restrictions what or how anything can be sold.


EXAMPLE

An OTO Plugin for WordPress could be sold:

For Personal Single-Use (no other rights).
  • Can be used on one website only.
With Resell Rights / Personal Single-Use Rights
  • Can sell the product and give Personal Single-Use Rights
With “Give-Away Rights for Personal Single-Use” and “Master Resell Rights with Personal Multi-Use”
  • Can give it away or sell it – in both cases with Personal Single-Use Rights
  • Sell Resell Rights and purchasers get Personal Multi-Use rights.
With “Transferable Give-Away Rights for Personal Single-Use” and “Transferable Resell Rights for Personal Multi-Use”.
  • Can give it away to people who can use it (on a single site) and give it away to others with exactly the same rights
  • Sell it for people to use personally (on multiple sites)
  • Sell it with Resell Rights, so the people you sell to can sell it for personal use (on multiple sites)
  • Sell it with Master Resell Rights, so people you sell it to can sell Resell Rights (with multi-site personal usage)
  • Sell it with Transferable Resell Rights, so people you sell it to, and people THEY sell it to etc. can also sell it with Resell Rights (with multi-site personal usage)
With “PLR for Personal Multi-Use”
  • Can create a derived product (or just take the product as it stands, if the terms allow that) and sell it with Personal Multi-Use rights
With “Transferable PLR for Master RR”
  • Can create a derived product (or just take the product as it stands, if the terms allow that) and sell it with Master RR (with Personal Multi-Use)
  • Can create a derived product (or just take the product as it stands, if the terms allow that) and sell it with “Transferable PLR for Master RR” i.e. your customers, and their customers and their customers etc. can create derived products and sell them with Master RR (with Personal Multi-Use)
With PLR and a Developers Licence.
  • Can use the product on your own website
  • Can use the product on websites which you sell and/or develop for customers (depending on the terms)
  • Unless you also have some other rights, you cannot sell the product on its own

If you read this far - thanks!

Alex
#confused #product #rights
  • Profile picture of the author Mary Wilhite
    Yes,

    there's usually a file called rights.txt

    depending on the rights that came with the products, if you open it you'll see:

    [NO] can sell resell rights
    [NO] thing you can't do number 2
    [NO] thing you can't do number 3
    [YES] thing you can do number 1

    So, if you structure your rights.txt file in detail
    then you'll definitely be able to describe what can
    and can't be done with the product.

    Though it still depends on the person what he'll do,
    there are still more decent people who will respect
    the rights.

    ~Mary
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    • Profile picture of the author AlexGoodall
      Thanks for your comments, Mary - but if only it were that simple!

      The complexities are often blurred over, left ambiguous or not thought through.

      For example - what exactly does MRR mean? Is it obvious to everyone what the difference is between:

      "Can sell Resell Rights"
      and
      "Can sell Master Resell Rights"

      If I own Master Resell Rights, which of the above applied?

      I'm sure YOU can answer those questions, but I would suggest that many people get confused.

      And what exactly does PLR mean?

      I don't think there IS a generally accepted understanding of what it means.

      And when you factor in things such as you can sell give-away rights, and give-away selling rights, and that there are various forms of usage rights, and that there are "incorporation rights" in some cases....

      It becomes pretty involved.

      But the good news is that once you start to unpick it all, you actually see more selling opportunities with all the different forms of rights that are available!

      I'll post more later when I've done more unpicking - but I'd still welcome any other input.

      Alex



      And even "give-away rights" is ambiguous: if I have give-away rights to a product, does that automatically mean that the people I give it to can also give it away?

      Well, no - because I may have paid to get those give-away rights.
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      • Profile picture of the author DebbieD
        I think it's a good idea. All of these 'rights' terms has many people (me included) confused.

        What exactly is "resell rights"? What rights does it include?

        If you can clear up all the terms related to "plr" and "resell rights", I'm sure many would be thankful.
        Signature

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        • Profile picture of the author PLRExpress
          RESELL Rights usually means that you are just a distributor for the product. You purchase a license in order to be able to sell that product to as many people as you like. You're not however allowed to put your name on the content, say that you are the author or change any of the content. You are just the distributor of the product.

          MASTER Resell Rights actually means that you can sell the product onto others but you are also allowed to pass on or sell the license to others so that they can do the same.

          With PLR (Private Label Rights) you actually purchase a license that means that you can use the product as if you had written it yourself. You put your name on it as the author and you can even change the product, tear it apart and turn it into whatever format you like. You can still resell the product as it is, however, but you can also sell it as though you had written it.

          BUT, with PLR, you are not allowed to pass on the resell rights to other people and you are also not allowed to pass on or sell the Private Label Rights to the material.


          For example, let's say that someone wrote a novel. The author could give/sell someone RESELL Rights . This means that the person that has resell rights becomes a distributor and they can sell it to others. They are not, however, allowed to pass on those resell rights to anyone.

          If the author gives someone MASTER Resell Rights, the person that receives the right to sell the product as a distributor BUT, they can ALSO pass on or sell the distribution rights to other distributors so that they can also distribute the product.

          If the author sells the PRIVATE LABEL rights to the product, the buyer can put their name on it as though they are the author, they can take it apart and change it or add to it or whatever. They can even sell it to others. What they can't do, however, is go and pass on or sell the PRIVATE LABEL rights to anyone else. This means that they can sell it or give it away but the people that they sell it to are not allowed to change it or claim ownership of the material because they don't have Private Label Rights.

          Obviously, while this is the general principle, some PLR providers so have slightly different rules so you need to look out for them.

          Hope this clears it all up a little. Perhaps, I've made it even more confusing? :confused:
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          • Profile picture of the author AlexGoodall
            Hi Nathan

            Thanks for your contribution.

            You've shown that this is more complex than most folk realize.

            I fear that my full analysis is going to confuse folk even more - but it's best to get it out in the open. I'm almost done...

            Alex
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            • Profile picture of the author PLRExpress
              Originally Posted by AlexGoodall View Post

              Hi Nathan

              You've shown that this is more complex than most folk realize.
              I know

              I think the most confusing part is because people mean different things by all of the different terms. I can't wait to see what you come up with!
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          • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
            Originally Posted by NathanDevlin View Post


            With PLR (Private Label Rights) you actually purchase a license that means that you can use the product as if you had written it yourself. You put your name on it as the author and you can even change the product, tear it apart and turn it into whatever format you like. You can still resell the product as it is, however, but you can also sell it as though you had written it.

            BUT, with PLR, you are not allowed to pass on the resell rights to other people and you are also not allowed to pass on or sell the Private Label Rights to the material.
            This is historically not the proper definition of PLR, although that is what it has become to many in IM.

            Private Label Rights means just that - you get to put your name on the product.

            It does not allow someone to change the product, tear it apart, turn it into different formats, etc.

            If you step outside of IM and try to do that you'd likely get a quick legal cease and desist.

            Be sure you understand the 'industry usage' of a term, and more importantly, and what is being intended by the seller.

            .
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            • Profile picture of the author AlexGoodall
              Originally Posted by deedawb View Post

              Hi Alex
              What is even more confusing is the rights v disclaimer, which is often contradictarory.
              If you use the resell or giveaway rights, you can contravene the disclaimer.
              Or, maybe I just misunderstand it?
              Dee
              Dee - what do you mean by the disclaimer?

              Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

              This is historically not the proper definition of PLR, although that is what it has become to many in IM.

              Private Label Rights means just that - you get to put your name on the product.

              It does not allow someone to change the product, tear it apart, turn it into different formats, etc.

              If you step outside of IM and try to do that you'd likely get a quick legal cease and desist.
              Yes - this an example where we do need to have agreed definitions.

              In support of what you say - you can purchase "Private Label" versions of products such as Aweber and 1Shopping Cart: my understanding is that all that involves is branding them. You certainly don't get hack the code!

              My suggested definition of PLR handles this, I believe.

              There are two sorts of PLR, as far as I can see, so there are two parts to the definition of the term:

              Can create derived products (according to the terms) and can sell them with appropriate Usage Rights - and optionally Selling Rights and/or Giving Rights (according to the terms)
              It is then up to the developer to state in the terms exactly HOW the product can be modified when creating the derived product.

              The second case is:

              Can incorporate the product into another product, website etc.
              This deals with the case of, for example, graphics or audio tracks.

              Alex
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              • Profile picture of the author deedawb
                Hi Alex
                The legal notice that usually says:
                No part of this document may be duplicated, transmitted, resold or reproduced in any form or by any means without prior written permission from the author and publisher.
                Unauthorized duplication of this material in any form is strictly prohibited. Violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

                And this is the licence that goes with it

                Thank you for purchasing this product
                This document sets out your license:
                [YES] Can be sold
                [YES] Can be given away
                [YES] Can be offered as a bonus
                [YES] Can be packaged
                [YES] Can sell Resale Rights
                [YES] Can sell Master Resale Rights
                [NO] Can sell Private Label Rights

                Dee

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  • Profile picture of the author AlexGoodall
    Finally - my full analysis added: see the first post.

    Alex
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    • Profile picture of the author PLRExpress
      That looks about right to me. I think...it's all a little difficult to get your head around sometimes but that looks like about as simplified a version as its probably going to get.

      I've made sure I keep a bookmark of this post so I can keep checking back to it. It will be great to see what others say about this too.

      Be sure to let me know when your product is out!

      Nathan
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      • Profile picture of the author AlexGoodall
        Thanks, Nathan

        I'd be very interested to get feedback from PLR/RR product developers.

        Alex
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        • Profile picture of the author deedawb
          Hi Alex
          What is even more confusing is the rights v disclaimer, which is often contradictarory.
          If you use the resell or giveaway rights, you can contravene the disclaimer.
          Or, maybe I just misunderstand it?
          Dee
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  • Profile picture of the author Vinden Grace
    Hi Alex,
    Many thanks for kicking off a much-needed debate.
    Standards would be very useful, I agree.
    Look forward to some resolution ....

    Best wishes,
    Vinden
    Signature

    Best wishes,

    Vinden Grace
    www.VindenGrace.com

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  • Profile picture of the author LoneWolfMuskoka
    I see a lot of PLR and MRR with conflicting rights and restrictions.

    For example, I can give the product away but I can't use it as a bonus for my own product. Isn't that just a form of giving it away?

    And one common restriction is that I can't sell it in a dime sale which is defined as a sale where the price starts low and increases one dime after a specified time/# of sales. What if I raise the price by $0.11 each time? Now I'm fine.

    I think that the industry would benefit from a clearly defined definition along the lines of what you've come up with here Alex.

    We also need to have a better way to attach rights to a specific product. Most rights files don't mention the product they go with.

    I've also run into the situation that @Dee described. I contacted the original author to make sure it was okay and was told that it was in both cases. If in doubt contact the author.
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    • Profile picture of the author AlexGoodall
      All I'm currently trying to do is get an agreed set of terms for the RIGHTS and definitions for them.

      As regards as the RESTRICTIONS - well there's never going to be any way to restrict what restrictions people include - whatever we may feel about them.

      I'm pretty sure that I've got the definitions right. I bought a product just yesterday which fitted a definition perfectly...

      I bought PLR rights (meaning I can create a derived product - and I have the source files etc.). I can sell those PLR rights to my customers, but THEY cannot sell them on to their customers.

      However, they can do anything they want with the derived products they created, as can I.

      So, using my definitions:

      I have Master PLR to the product with Transferable Resell Rights + Transferable Give-Away Rights to my derived product.

      My customers get PLR to the product with Transferable Resell Rights + Transferable Give-Away Rights to their derived product (should I choose to sell them those rights).

      Their customers, and their customers etc. get Transferable Resell Rights + Transferable Give-Away Rights to my customers derived product (should they choose to sell them those rights).

      ... and everyone gets personal use rights, of course (since it's an eBook, that part is simple).

      LoneWolf...

      It's actually reasonable to allow a product to be used as a bonus, but not to be given away free. When it's a bonus, someone has to make a payment in order to get it - and so the product inherits some of the value paid: which is why sometimes people insist that their product cannot be part of a bonus if there are more than X bonuses - that again devalues the bonus products.

      Alex
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      • Profile picture of the author larryhig
        Hi Alex:

        And thanks for your ingenious idea.

        The rights issue has been confusing from the start.

        This "graph summary" tends to clarify what can and can't be done with a product.

        I like the idea as it takes a lot of confusion out to the product rights that are offered by the author.

        I can see this as a new "read me" page, now the problem becomes one of educating people to utilize it.

        Larry, Your Profit Mentor
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        • Profile picture of the author AlexGoodall
          Glad you find it helpful, Larry.

          It would be great for this to become a "read me" page - I agree (of course!).

          Regards

          Alex
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    • Profile picture of the author Matt B
      This is a great thread on a topic I looking for clarity on.


      Originally Posted by LoneWolfMuskoka View Post

      For example, I can give the product away but I can't use it as a bonus for my own product. Isn't that just a form of giving it away?
      I was thinking the exact same thing Lone Wolf.

      Originally Posted by AlexGoodall View Post

      LoneWolf...

      It's actually reasonable to allow a product to be used as a bonus, but not to be given away free. When it's a bonus, someone has to make a payment in order to get it - and so the product inherits some of the value paid: which is why sometimes people insist that their product cannot be part of a bonus if there are more than X bonuses - that again devalues the bonus products.

      Alex
      That being said, could someone go as far as to say a product could only be offered as a bonus on products sold for at least $xx?
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      • Profile picture of the author AlexGoodall
        Originally Posted by Matt B View Post

        That being said, could someone go as far as to say a product could only be offered as a bonus on products sold for at least ?
        Not only could someone, but people do do that.

        Creators of PLR/RR products can place whatever restrictions they wish on the way their products are resold: usually those restrictions are there to preserve the value of the product and its market.

        Alex
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  • Profile picture of the author UKGeorge
    I think the most confusing part is because people mean different things by all of the different terms. I can't wait to see what you come up with!
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  • Profile picture of the author micromike
    Hi Alex!
    wound up here via one of the poster's on Tiff Dow's blog, and glad I did.
    I was totally unaware of this thread!
    Yes, this deserves a "sticky"!
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